Recently, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund commission distributed grant awards from their 2017 grant cycle. William Upchurch, Executive Director of the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission outlines some of the recipients:
“We had a really good grant cycle this time around. We ended up receiving 39 applications looking for $7.8 million, unfortunately, due to limitation if funds, we can only put so much out. But, we did end up funding 19 very worthy projects for approximately $2.4 million.”
Let’s talk about some of those projects, William.
“Some of the programs that we’ll be working with this coming year are cost/share programs. Rural Advancement Foundation International and Mount Olive College will be receiving grants to do cost/shares directly with farmers who want to come up with innovative ideas to either help increase their opportunity on their farm, or maybe diversify into a new operation on their farm.
“We’ve also had the opportunity to work with community colleges, as we have in the past. One of the neat ones we’ll be working with this year is Nash Community College to help them establish a veterinary technician program.”
Now, I understand that there were some marketing and outreach funds that were awarded, as well.
“We had some great opportunities for marketing. Obviously, the Department of Agriculture has always been a good partner for us. They’ll be working with the farmers’ markets in the state, to help improve their marketing and delivery of their service to the community. Another project that we’ll be doing with the department of agriculture is the Agritourism Marketing Cost/Share Program. Agritourism has become a big business in North Carolina and to be able to help some of the agritourism on some of these farms to build a better market and to promote what they’re doing, wehter it be a pick-your-own operation, or a corn maze, or a trail farm, or whatever, they’ll be getting some resources and assistance, so they can put their information out there to the public that their farm is there and they want them to come visit.”
The Tobacco Trust Fund Commission will begin accepting applications for the 2018 funding cycle in January.